Olympics streaming forecast: TV will rule, mobile outlook cloudy

As the 2012 Summer Olympics draws near, so, too, the volume increases of press releases issued by companies hoping to ride the promotion wave.

A prominent email category in our inboxes has been research forecasts of consumers’ Olympic digital viewing. Sifting them boils down to this conclusion – traditional TV will dominate, viewing on other devices is growing, but researchers can’t agree on mobile and tablet popularity…

Plain ‘ol TV still rules

  • Most popular viewing platforms will be traditional TV at home (65%) and public screens (10%) (YouGov UK survey for Interxion)
  • 64 percent of Brits and 71 percent of Americans said they would watch the Olympics via regular TV (Sportscope survey for Perform Group Global Sports Media Consumption Report 2012)
  • “Five billion TV viewers across 220 countries worldwide, making it the most viewed event in history. This is up from 4.7 billion for the 2008 Beijing games and represents more than 70% of the global population” (Informa forecast)

But viewers will nevertheless also use other devices

  • “40 percent of Americans who plan to follow the Olympics this summer will do so on two or more devices” (Harris Interactive for Velti)

PC viewing will come next

Mobile viewing is uncertain

  • 27 percent in the U.S. will use their smartphone for Olympic content (77 percent by browser, 63 percent by apps) (Harris Interactive for Velti)
  • Of those,  45 percent will access video clips and replays, 41 percent plan to stream live coverage via a browser (Harris Interactive for Velti)
  • But another survey says mobile Olympic video viewing will be much lower – just three percent in the UK and seven percent in the U.S. (Sportscope survey for Perform Group Global Sports Media Consumption Report 2012)

Tablet video is also an open question

This is not the year of connected TV

  • “Much-vaunted smart TVs will have less impact. Consumers want to watch more TV on demand and smart TVs play to that trend. But we are seeing growing numbers of viewers gathering around larger and larger live events, such as the Olympics and the British Royal Wedding. These factors, combined with consumers’ limited awareness of smart TV features, means the London 2012 games will be far more important for less ‘fashionable’ broadcast technologies, such as HD and 3D.” (Rob Gallagher, head of broadband and TV research, Informa).